Net Neutrality Explained

We call the internet the world wide web for a reason. With it, we’ve been able to access information, make connections around the globe, and learn various topics at speeds not possible just a century ago. The keyword here is “access”. Net neutrality keeps the internet on an equal playing field. Helping to ensure that your internet experience isn’t dependent upon whomever is the highest bidder. Net neutrality prevents ISPs from playing favorites.With it, ISPs can’t discriminate based on bandwidth consumption, business agreements with websites or apps, or the type of content you access. 

For example, if net neutrality is respected, ISPs can’t slow down your connection (what is known as “throttling”) on a Zoom call and choose to speed up a connection to their own favored video conferencing site. An ISP also can’t block certain content that you view because a competitor of that site paid them to do so. At Mozilla, we believe that internet users have the right to a neutral internet. For over a decade we have fought for you to be able to access all internet content and services without ISP discrimination. 

Imagining a World Without Net Neutrality

Without net neutrality, internet service providers can charge companies for improving services like faster video streaming, online gaming, etc, all at the expense of others. We saw this in 2014 with Comcast versus Netflix. Another example of what can happen If the internet remains a lawless land comes from AT&T. The internet giant was once under fire when it was discovered that the company was throttling the speed of Apple’s FaceTime video feature. Making it so that only users who paid for the company’s shared data plan could use the feature at full speeds. 

The people who are negatively impacted the most by the lack of federal legislation regarding net neutrality are the users. In 2018, the state of California passed its own net neutrality law and has fought (and won) against ISPs hoping to overturn it. It’s the right direction moving forward for the future of the web. 

Mozilla’s Fight to Keep the Internet Safe

Making sure that the internet stays unbiased and truly free has been Mozilla’s motto since our start. In 2021, Mozilla sent a letter to the FCC asking for net neutrality to be reinstated. Because without it, data is at risk for being treated unequally by ISPs. Putting you, the user, in the crosshairs of this digital war. Federal regulation is necessary to save the internet. Follow our fight for you and the internet by following us on social media, or keeping up with the Mozilla blog

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